CEO Commentary by Jan McDonald
“You have got to come up here and listen to this Christmas music!” my hubby, Dennis, yelled from upstairs. I was in the middle of something and Christmas music is NOT my favorite. Lest you think I am a total scrooge, after years of working holidays in the restaurant business, I think I’ve heard enough Christmas music to last me a lifetime. Besides, we are a blended family and Christmas became this chaotic time of making sure the kids got to California or back to Oregon at the appointed time—and always in a blizzard, it seemed. Past Christmases haven’t left great memories—but I’m getting over that.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m in the middle of something,” I yelled back. Then I felt guilty for being so snippy, decided to finish what I was doing and trudge up there.
Up the stairs I went and found Jennifer Hudson standing in front of a small church audience beginning to sing my all time favorite Christmas song (yes, I DO have ONE), “Oh Holy Night.” God had prepared a gift for me. As she sang, “when He appeared, the soul felt its worth,” I wept. Those words dissolve me, because like many LO clients, before I met Jesus, I didn’t have a sense of worth.
“Great,” Ana* lamented, “The test is positive. My mom said I’d have to move out. My boyfriend said he’d be outta here if this happened. My dad? I don’t even know who he is. What now?’’ Tears flowed because Ana felt worthless and unwanted. At that point, there is only one solution—the One with hope—The Man who won’t ever forsake her. This Man will always love her unconditionally.
Here are more words to O Holy Night, so sing with me:
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O, hear the angels’ voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night divine.
You’ve been there, too. If you’re like me, you wait until you’re at the end of your rope and then you fall on your knees. After spending time with the Jesus, your circumstances may not have changed, but you have been changed and you have hope. When Ana left LO, she was changed. She didn’t commit to Christ, but the seed was planted. She also knew that we were praying for her and we would walk through her crisis with her.
Truly he taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the Slave is our brother; and in His name all oppression shall cease.
YES! OH, YES! High fives all around! Deck the halls! THIS is the reason for the season. Jesus came that we would have life and have it abundantly. This is also the reason LO exists—that they may choose life. Then we can teach them how to live it abundantly. Jesus doesn’t want us to live a life that is lackluster, boring or full of fear. He was born so we can live a life free from fear, full of courage and joy forever.
Sing on—louder now:
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we; let all within us Praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever, His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
“Cool, huh?” I said as I look at Javier* when we walked back into the waiting room after seeing the ultrasound. His ear-to-ear smile said it all as he just nodded his head “yes.” I believe he was at a loss for words. He was changed. Forever.
I often thank God for you who support LO, but especially today. You see, YOU also are a gift. God has called you to make proclaiming The Hope possible. I thank you and pray you have the merriest Christmas ever!
Proclaiming His power and joy,
Jan McDonald, CEO
*Name changed for confidentiality.
Oh yes, please enjoy O Holy Night as sung by Jennifer Hudson: